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Featuring Demian Dressler, DVM and Susan Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology), authors of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide

Fantastic fungus and dog cancer..medicinal mushrooms!?

Updated: December 14th, 2018

Yes, you read that right.  Certain kinds of mushrooms have immune boosting and anti-cancer effects. Some examples of these mushrooms include Shitake (yes, the same one we eat in Chinese restaurants), Maitake, Reishi, Cordyceps, Coriolus, Agaricus and Cordyceps. The good folks over at Aloha Medicinals have known about this forever.  I spoke with Dr. John Holliday who spearheads their research a while back to get the lowdown on this very interesting area.  Subsequently, I began using their products on my patients.

And I found they work.  They extend life, slow progression, and keep life quality high in dog cancer patients beyond traditional care expectations.

They do this in three main ways.  First, they are immune enhancing.  Second, they stimulate the immune system.  Lastly, they help with the toxic side effects of chemo and radiation.

Coriolus contains two interesting compounds that have attracted major interest in China, PSK and PSP.  PSK has made it all the way to stage 3 clinical trials (out of 4). Taken together, PSK and PSP  improved survival times significantly for cancers of the  lung, stomach, ovary, breast, colon, rectum, the nasal-throat area, and cervix. In addition, they improved life quality, decreased pain, boosted the immune system, and decreased side effects of chemo and radiation. Here is the link. These compounds are very exciting and are found in Aloha Medicinal products, as well as other medicinal mushroom blends.

An extract of Maitake taken by mouth was shown to help human patients live longer and suffer less cancer symptoms in a study out of Japan.  Patients with cancer of the liver, breast and lung showed the most improvement, while those with leukemia, stomach cancer, and brain cancer showed minimal improvement.  This paper also showed that the immune system was more active in the patients receiving the Maitake extract.

Cordyceps extract did slow the growth of tumors in mice, and was able to protect mice from some of the side effects from the chemo drug taxol in another study.  In particular, the mice were able to regenerate their white blood cell counts, as white blood cell suppression is a frequent side effect seen with chemo. Cordyceps was also able to mitigate the effects of radiation toxicity in mice in a further study.

Immune suppression is a big part of cancer progression, and these mushrooms help overcome this problem via immune stimulation.Coriolus, Shitake, Maitake, Reishi, Cordyceps, Agaricus and others contain a carbohydrates in the beta-glucan family.  Beta-glucans stimulate white blood cells (lymphocytes including T cells and NK cells, and macrophages) through several mechanisms.

Shitake extract taken orally was shown to increase red and white blood cell formation following radiation in mice. This may have positive effects for chemo agents that cause anemia and low white counts (which many do).

A clinical study is published in the Aloha Medicinals website, showing the benefit of a blend of different medicinal mushrooms in late stage cancer patients.  Although they have an vested interest, it is still useful to consider.

I believe these mushrooms (K-9 Immunity, available through Aloha Medicinals), along with their boosting supplements (Transfer Factor) should be considered for a part of the full-spectrum care plan for dogs afflicted with cancer. According to Dr. Holliday, who is collecting large amounts of data on their supplement, he is possibly most impressed with the effects of these products for dogs with osteosarcoma.

Most of the whole mushrooms have an antioxidant effect, which may interfere with chemo and radiation.  The use of these mushrooms should be timed after consultation with your vet or oncologist.  Additionally, like any supplement taken orally, digestive upset is possible.  They should probably be avoided in dogs with immune mediated diseases or other inflammatory disorders.  Please discuss this with your vet or oncologist.




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  1. Susan Kazara Harper on February 22, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    Hi Wendy, Bless your heart and your beautiful 16 year old ‘pup’. You can find so many thingson the internet, and I have to say that whatever you find there are really important aspects to look for….. Does the ‘proof’ include real trials with animals, particularly dogs? Can the substance be taken by mouth, and does it survive the digestive process (is it bioavailable)? This part is left out a lot by markting departments. I recommend you look at EverPup. EverPup (www.everpup.com) was designed by Dr Dressler after his nutraceutical Apocaps had such good results with dogs who had cancer. Clients asked “how can I keep my healthy dog, healthy?” EverPup is packed only with good, natural ingredients in the highest quality, and one of the benefits (besides joint helath, digestive health, good digestion and shiny coat) is improved cognitive function. In other words, improved braing function. Dr D’s own dog showed improvement within a few weeks of starting EverPup. It was an aspect not expected. You can find EverPup at the website, at Amazon, and one of the best deals is through the EverPup Club (www.everpupclub.com). Take a look at the ingredients and teh reasons for including them, and I think you’ll find it worth a try. Big hugs to your beautiful dog. Good luck!

  2. Wendy on February 22, 2015 at 6:56 am

    I have a 16 year old dog showing signs of dog dementia. I have been reading about medicinal mushrroms and benefits to humans with cognitive disfunction. Lions mane is one they suggest but wasn’t sure about it’s use in dogs.

  3. 'Genie on December 15, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    I also give my dog (Tiki; Belgian Malinois) the powder form of NuVet Labs
    product….it seems to work very well for her. I stopped giving it to her, and
    have since resumed. It does her well. I am also cooking for her and giving
    her supplements for cancer, so her immune system is already compromised,
    but again, the product, I feel, really helps.

  4. Stella on November 15, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    Hello Dr. Dressler,

    My 7 year old Yorkie-maltese was diagnosed with lymphoma about 2 months ago. She has been receiving the CHOP protocol, but due to finances we had to switch to 3 week doxorubicin, and now I’m thinking that I may need to stop chemo all together. Fortunately, she responded very well and is in remission:) I’m currently researches the Medicinal Mushrooms. We are not ready to stop fighting. I need more time with my baby. So, my questions, which mushroom is best for lymphoma? and how do you feel about pairing up the reishi mushroom and green tea? I need a cure! It amazing that we can put a man on the moon, but can’t cure cancer.

    • Dr. Demian Dressler on November 27, 2012 at 11:53 am

      Stella, please take a little time and read the Guide as all these questions are directly answered. There is no single mushroom that has been shown specifically better- you are better off with a blend of biactive beta glucans like K-9 Immunity with transfer factor or similar. There are better supplements than green tea or EGCG which is also discussed in the guide in the section “supplement hierarchy”. I’d start with apoptogens like apocaps with maybe low dose oral neoplasene before green tea extracts for a variety of medical reasons. Please be sure to discuss with your vet or oncologist before any treatment is changed.
      Dr D

  5. Beta Glucan-containing mushrooms in the news again! on September 25, 2012 at 4:59 am

    […] glucans in dogs with cancer is a good idea! (By the way, we have more information in other posts here and here and of course in the Guide).  We also discuss easy ways to get beta glucans into your […]

  6. Michelle on July 16, 2012 at 9:39 am

    I am curious what your opinion is regarding NuVet Labs…….they have a wafer made from MANY ingredients that they guarantee to shrink tumors and offer a money back guarantee. According to their website, it was developed by 3 vets, a nutritional scientist, a pharmacist and a physician over the course of 8 yrs and and over the last 15 yrs has helped over 300,000 dogs with cancer as well as allergies. The product is not expensive like so many others; it runs $55 a bottle for 90 wafers if you order from their website and I believe it is available on others sites less expensive than that. The directions state to give 2 wafers a day for 2 wks then 1 wafer a day for dogs 5 to 100 lbs. I have ordered the product but would deeply appreciate any advice you have regarding the product itself. My boxer has recently had 4 masses removed and a lymph node aspirated. I know that one was a mast cell tumor but not sure about the others until pathology comes in. I thought this would be helpful since the main concentration of the product seems to be to shrink tumors. Thanks for all the work you do to support our best friends.

    • Dr. Demian Dressler on July 24, 2012 at 9:33 pm

      Dear Michelle
      I think it is a nice vitamin with some nice supplements.
      I don’t think it should be thought of as something that will shrink tumors reliably. You certainly can try it and see of course.
      Dr D

  7. agaricus on June 1, 2012 at 12:06 am

    all of the diseases are dangerous whether they are huge or little at a stage they are all deadly and we should be really carefull about them. its really good that you are informing people about them so no one gets seriously ill and damaged with these diseases.

  8. […] Dressler’s own blog post, “Fantastic fungus and dog cancer..medicinal mushrooms!?” has more information about how edible mushrooms help dogs fight […]

  9. Kellie on October 22, 2011 at 9:21 am

    We’ve had success with K-9 Immunity. Here’s our story:

    We have a ten-year-old lab-hound mix who has thrived for 20 months since being diagnosed with lymphoma. We did four different chemo protocols in the first eight months, and she kept getting resistance. She has a huge tumor on her side, so we could feel when the chemo would stop working – the tumor would grow quickly to tennis ball size. 12 months ago, we decided to stop chemo and focus only on quality of life. The oncologist said she would have two months to live at best. We started K-9 Immunity that week (the pills, not the chews). She is 70+ pounds and gets 7 capsules daily. In two weeks, the tumor had decreased from tennis ball size to ping pong ball size. We were stunned and had our vet confirm it. It has now stayed the same size for 12 months. We just played fetch yesterday, and she has not slowed down. The only other thing we do for her is feed Evo low carb food and give Olive Leaf Extract or Flagyl antibiotic to deal with chronic diarrhea that the chemo caused and she will have for life.

    Now our 11-year-old yellow lab has been diagnosed with osteosarcoma and had a hind leg amputed two day ago. Started the K-9 Immunity immediately. She already has lung metastasis, but we’ll do what we can. No coughing or panting yet. Still considering adding the metonomic protocol, Apocaps, and other stuff from the guide.

    Just thought this might help those who are considering K-9 Immunity. I also have a friend who just started it for her dog with a lung mass. It stopped the coughing and panting in two weeks.

  10. Darlene on October 17, 2011 at 2:55 am

    Can the AHCC be given with Prednisone? Or would the immune-stimulating mushrooms cancel out the immunosuppressive Prednisone, and vice-versa? My vet knows nothing about mushrooms or any alternative therapies, so therefore is not much help.


    • Dr. Demian Dressler on October 20, 2011 at 8:03 pm

      Dear Darlene,
      I commonly use these together. Cancer cells don’t respond like normal white blood cells to immune stimulation.

  11. Mary McDonald on September 10, 2011 at 9:58 am

    I was really excited about the prospect of starting our 2 yr old lab on a mushroom supplement until I read that you don’t recommend it if the dog has an immune mediated or inflammatory disorder. Farley has osteoarthritis as a result of OCD in all 4 limbs and had two Grade 2 mast cells removed (incompletely) last week. We see an oncologist on Monday. He had successful surgery on both elbows last year, but surgery on his hocks was inadvisable. As a result, the djd in his hocks is quite severe. We planned to have arthrodesis done at some point in the future as was recommended. I assume that osteoarthritis would be an inflammatory disorder that you referred to in the article. Could you please advise why you don’t recommend mushrooms for cancer dogs with inflammatory disorders?

    • DemianDressler on September 13, 2011 at 9:19 pm

      Dear Mary,
      there are many types of inflammatory disorders. Cancer is yet another if we look deep enough.. It is the immune mediated inflammatory joint diseases that I suggest avoiding with these supplements. This is because non specific immune stimulation can worsen a disease caused by immune attack of normal body cells. OCD is no problem most of the time. I would also have you consider your omega 3’s, the COX-2 inhibiting apoptogens including the luteolin found in Apocaps, dog cancer diet, and so on…more in the Guide. Make sure your vet is involved in all steps…
      I hope this helps

  12. Michelle DeLaTorre on June 24, 2011 at 11:38 am

    I have been giving my dogs Shitake Mushrooms. They are the one’s we buy at the local Japanese Market. I hope this is alrightMy mom has shoked them in water. I tell her to also give the water, for that also has the nutrients. Is vwhat I’m doinging for my cancer girl alright? We are still planning to take her with us to Portland Oragon this summer. Hopfully things will be alright. We contacted a cancer Organization up in Portland the other day.
    Sincerly, Michelle DeLaChelle

  13. Maciej on May 3, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Hi Dr. DD,

    My 12 years old Daschund was just diagnosed with the anal sac adenocarcinoma. It was small and discreet. It was resected, but unfortunately the margins were not clear (surgeon expected it to be clean). His other work-up did not show the metastases. His labs are normal. The surgery was done on 4/20/11 (very well known NYC hospital), but the pathology report says that the date the specimen was received was on 4/11 (it is unclear if it was April 11th or April 2011; the surgeon is investigating it with the pathology center at this time). The pathology report provides no macroscopic description (no dimensions so it is hard to tell if it was my dogs tissue). I am suspicious about the results, but the vet tells me that this is most likely his report). Most likely is not good enough to me considering 18 radiation treatments under general anesthesia. I am out of my mind. I consider another surgery for more margins, but my surgeon does not recommend it because of possible complications. I was told by the oncologist that he has an excellent chance with radiation. I bought your book, reading through it. Any experience with this type of tumor? Any advice?

  14. Karma D on April 28, 2011 at 11:31 am

    Hi Dr. D!
    I heard that some oncologists agree that mushroom extracts can be used in conjunction with chemo, and some say that it interferes. I was going to start my dog, post amputation, but pre chemo on AHCC 500mg a day (55lb dog).
    What are your thoughts on this?
    And as far as choosing a mushroom therapy, what would you recommend for primary osteosarcoma? We choose AHCC as a well respected nutritionist we know recommended it.

  15. Lynn on November 28, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    I also read that some of these chinese mushrooms are also good for allergies too! Thank Dog my baby does not have cancer but she does suffer from allergies. Is there a capsule you would recommened to supplement instead of having to find all these mushrooms esp. cordyceps?

  16. kay on November 27, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    Hi Dr. D,
    My lab Lucky has mast cell tumors. We are currently following your cancer diet along with new chapter tumeric and new chapter host defense. We just started the apocaps, krill oil and the digestive enzymes. Prior to all of this we were giving him Cellular Forte’ Max. Stopped this as we thought it might be helping the cancer. He has one tumor removed and then several came up on the inside and groin of his leg. Should we do the K-9 immunity too? Would you recommend transfer factor too? Just confused as to how much we should be giving him. He is fine, no signs of disease as far as his actions. Walks with us 3 miles in the morning and walks for about 30 minutes in the evening. Has a good appetite. We have cut all sugars and carbs from his diet and provide filtered water to drink. He is 7 and is the love of our lives.

  17. Jean on November 3, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    John & Robert, I’m with you guys. I can’t tell if K9 Immunity and other related canine cancer supplements are a scam or not. I have searched and searched, but have found no hard evidence that it’s at all effective. Yet all of these supplements cost a fortune. My veterinary oncologist told me ‘don’t waste your money’. But, when weighing the money vs my dog’s life, I chose my dog’s life and went for it anyway. In August, I ended up pulling my dog off all of the supplements that she was on because she was breaking out in ‘drug eruptions’. She had ulcerated sores all over her lips, down her chin, and neck to her armpit. It was horrible. We’re still not sure exactly what was causing them. But, she hasn’t experienced anymore of these outbreaks since we stopped all of the supplements. She was diagnosed with osteosarcoma on June 2nd. We did confirm recently through ultrasound that the cancer has now metastasized to her kidneys. But, her quality of life continues to be good. Who knows if pulling her off the supplements allowed the cancer to spread sooner? Or, was it already spreading despite the supplements and chemo? In any case, her quality of life sure has been a lot better since we stopped the supplements.
    It sure would be nice to make the decision to invest in these supplements with more evidence to support the decision. The problem is that we all make an emotionally charged decision to buy them, we never really know if they are working or not, eventually we lose our beloved pet, we have no idea if the supplement actually made a difference or not and when we do eventually lose our pet, we’re grieving that loss and are so drained from the whole experience that we certainly don’t want to prolong the whole experience even further by continuing to attempt to figure out if the supplement was effective or report back to anyone who may be interested on these forums. Even if we did have the energy to report back, what would we report back? Truly, we have no idea if it made a difference or not. So, we let go and move on. . . . and everyday more dogs are diagnosed with cancer and there’s a whole new flock of emotionally charged human caretakers who are canine cancer newbies searching the web hoping to find a miracle cure. Each day one of us leaves this market, we’re replaced by a teary-eyed new customer willing to give these supplements a try with the hope that they will help their pet. Yeah, this market is a goldmine with no accountability for product effectiveness. I agree that it’s VERY sketchy.

  18. Robert on October 25, 2010 at 6:40 am

    I second the comment above by John. I would like some information about this K-9 Immunity. Being involved in web development, I know how easy it is to leave good comments everywhere on the major sites. Viral marketing for this type of product is not hard since its so specialized. Does anyone know of any links to unbiased studies of K-9 Immunity?

    Like John, I feel some of the “user comments” are suspect when it comes to K-9 Immunity. My dog was just diagnosed with a high grade II MCT. It has not spread and it has been removed, but the margins were not clean so he starts radiation as soon as the stitches come out.

    • DemianDressler on November 7, 2010 at 11:13 pm

      As always, the best policy is to go to the source. I would suggest calling customer support and asking for literature supporting claims and arm yourself with the data you need!

  19. john on October 15, 2010 at 12:37 am

    so whats the update doc? its hard finding any real information from people about K 9 immunity. my dog is diagnosed with lymphosarcoma. i already ordered this but after my vets told me not to take this, realizing the marketing schemes that all look similar on all the websites, YOUR strong recommendation for this, and my intuition sensing that it would be a perfect way to make money ( make a cancer patient’s owner pay >$100 for miracle capsules, b/c the dog’s owner is an emotioanl breakdown hoping this system will work), its making this seem VERY sketchy. Not to mention ZosoGuru’s comment about this so called “doctor” true self. I have seen many money schemes including cell phone messaging subscriptions schemes who should be put in jail. If this doctor is trying to make money off of people’s well being which would be very intelligent and cold hearted, I think I would be sick. It would piss me off more than finding out my dog had cancer.

    I also think if there are so many proven successes from this treatment of K 9 Immunity, K 9 Total Factor or w/e, SPEAK UP PEOPLE> tell us if this system worked out for you or if it was all bunk, because there are people here who have limited time with the rapidness of cancer on their dogs that need ADVICE. there is not enough ADVICE on this, as it was hard to even find a site like this that doesn’t have comments that seem to have been created by the “doctor” or his personels making his websites perpetuating this lucrative business.

  20. Cathy on June 17, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Dr. Dressler:

    My dog is 9 years old and had her rear leg amputated due to cancer. About 18 months ago, I noticed a growth at the hock area. Xrays were done on the hock and I was told it did not look good. Chest Xrays were also done and they were clean. Biopsy was done and no cancer the vet just debulked the growth because it could not be totally removed. No other treatment was given except antibiotics and my dog healed and was fine. I noticed the growth coming back in the fall of 09. I took her to another vet and had the growth looked at. Xrays of the hock were done again and it was suggested that a biopsy be done. Chest Xrays done also and clean again. I then took her to a specialist who said it could be treated with meds, fused or possibly amputated depending on how the biopsy came back. My dog was not using the leg and holding it up. Unfortunately the biopsy came back sarcoma. With that news and that fact that she was in pain and not using the leg, we opted for amputation. All her senior blood work came back good. She has recovered and adapted very well she has totally amazed everybody with her recovery so it is hard to believe what is going on. It was suggested that we do a biopsy to find out what kind of cancer was in the hock and it came back histiocystic sarcoma. Ultrasound was then done and it was clean. My vet said the best treatment at this point for her is the chemo drug Lomustine. Wanting the best for her and at the same time not knowing what is the best for her. We decided on the Lomustine and she has had her first treatment and is due for her second any day now. She has really been doing well. You would never think she even had this awful cancer. One weekend she was not too hungry, and she went for her bloodwork and low WBC 6/8 was 2.3 then on 6/16 2.7 she was put on antibiotics because of the first results and now going back on antibiotics for another week then more bloodwork. I was told that many of the supplements, etc., can interfere with her current treatment and I am concerned and I feel that I need to help her even more but I am afraid of what to expect next in dealing with this cancer. No one believes that there is anything going on with her because she appears healthy and normal except that now is a tripawd. I only hope she stays this way for a very long time. Well that is Silk’s story any suggestion we would be happy for. Thank you for your time.

    Cathy and Silk

  21. Kelly on April 30, 2010 at 9:47 am

    Dr. Dressler:

    My dog was diagnosed with lymphoma last March. She went through the traditional chemo protocol for five months, where she went into remission. We were told she’d have about 12-15 months before the lymphoma surfaced again. This March it came back, and now she is on two cancer pills once a month. Would the agaricus mushroom help her?

  22. Karah on March 30, 2010 at 4:59 am

    Thank you for your blog Dr. Dressler.

    I found Aloha Medicinals last February when my Golden Retriever was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. She had already beat a mast cell tumor 14 months prior by surgery, low carb, no sugar food (EVO) and various supplements. After surgery to remove these 2 tumors, we opted for natural remedies as we were told none could say there would be promised benefit of traditional treatment – it was also very costly and 4 hours away. She was started on K9 Immunity and TF. We were no match for the aggressive nature though and it quickly spread to her lungs. Though we lost her on 11/27/09, she had 9 months of amazing energy and quality of life. Because she was a rescue, we had no idea how old she was, but estimated about 7 or 8. She had a litter before we got her and then, was spayed. We later found out, this was a possible factor in the breast cancer development.

    Ginnie was an incredible dog with a great attitude and fought joyfully until to the last 2 days of her life when she went downhill fast. I am so grateful for these products. I have no regrets – she had a great life with us and because of her, I have changed the way I look at canine health completely. I now am using the ‘Dog Immune’ version of these mushrooms on my healthy 6 month old puppy. She is also a GR and was rescued from a puppy mill on New Year’s. She was saved at 14 weeks and has almost 3 months on the DI and has a shiny, healthy coat, great energy and we are so excited about being able to start her on these products early to help HER own system, fight anything coming down the pike.

    Thank you for your work.

  23. John Bascom on March 17, 2010 at 9:23 am

    I am curious to know what kind of red dye is used in the capsules?
    I thought red dyes were carcinogenic. Why do you dye?

  24. Jo Anne on December 17, 2009 at 7:25 am

    I had started K-9 immunity right after I learned my dog had osteosarcoma. I had given my other dog with hemangiosarcoma the same product. Both dogs died in the time the vets said they would. I am giving my other old dog the product for his joints and overall health and he seems to be doing well with it. Not so sure about doing anything for cancer though. I spent a lot of money (a lot of money on some more conventional tx as well) both to no avail. Since I have had two older dogs in the last 7 months die of some form of cancer, I am not sure anything really works. I believe it is the luck of the draw. I understand how people feel when the dog is dx’d with cancer. The first time I was totally devastated and tried most anything (not chemo though) home-cooked diet, other special foods, supplements. I believe if Farrah Faucet spent millions on her treatment and she died anyway, I am losing faith that the horrible disease can be dealt with. What does it really take? I just don’t know. I have heard many stories of dogs surviving, but it may be because of the slow growing cancer the dog may have. Once I hear cancer again, sure I will do the special diet and supplements because as humans I believe we have to do something and I will feel better doing “something” but I will also realize that cancer is a death sentence. I may be jaded now, but I have a little experience and much emotional investment behind me not to mention the reality of this disease. Dr dresslers book helped get me through it all.

  25. lovewrinkles on November 11, 2009 at 10:24 am

    I purchased Cordyceps Vcaps today but how much does a dog need a day (or maybe how often a week?)
    How many mg – s?

  26. ZosoGuru on November 3, 2009 at 7:54 am


    Certainly the etiology of “Doctor” Holliday’s first generations of cordyceps had to come from SOMEWHERE. Wouldn’t you agree ? He didn’t just find a few cordyceps in his backyard, did he ? I realize that the man has created a working cultivation lab, as well as an expansive research & development department. However, I disapprove of his product, as its first strains are of questionable origin.

    I also disapprove of the marketing of these types of products because they are sold in a way that relies purely upon the desperation and emotional connection of people who want to keep their pets from succumbing to cancer. The careful language that Dr. Holliday SOMETIMES takes pains to spell out the NON-medical properties of his dietary supplement doesn’t always hit home with buyers who are dealing with the ravages of cancer in their homes. Many folks…and I mean MANY…will believe that this product is the answer to all of their problems. Not so.

    I bought a labrador puppy from John Holliday. The puppies and their mother were being housed at the facility where Holliday creates his dietary supplement. The conditions that these dogs were kept in was deplorable; so much so that I nearly convinced my husband to buy more than just one of the puppies just so we could remove them all from those conditions. Feces and food in the same place, no grass or room to move. Just a fenced-in, concrete structure. The smell was awful. The mother was obviously in distress and all of the dogs were terribly hot. A random cardboard box was half-full with a blanket covered in feces. Holliday didn’t seem too concerned with the health of THOSE dogs; rather, he spent a good portion of our visit berating his son for not ordering copier toner, using a posture and language that even my husband found threatening. This man didn’t seem to be the miracle-working do-gooder that his website proclaims him to be.

    Just food for thought, as I live right around the corner from his facility. I’ve seen the man in person…and NOT as a professional liaison. I suspect that not many in the veterinary community see THAT side of the “doctor.”

    ~ Carson City, Nevada

  27. ZosoGuru on October 29, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    From a website called Zengia:

    “Wild grown Cordyceps sinensis is extremely rare and the Chinese government has made it illegal to harvest the fungus due to environmental concerns. Genuine wild grown Cordyceps sinensis is only available on the black market and costs more than $9,000 a kilogram. It’s suffice to say that any company claiming its product is naturally harvested needs to be carefully investigated. ”

    Also, a fascinating documentary, “Wild China” spoke at length about the cordyceps market in Tibet. Because it is illegal to harvest cordyceps, a black market for them has set up shop, operating in the midst of a most beautiful land and its peaceful people. It’s a detriment to their quality of life.

    On one hand, in Tibet, you have Mount Kailash. It is (arguably) the most sacred place on Earth. It’s so powerful that it is forbidden to climb. People make treks, sometimes in repetitive prostrations, to get a glimpse of this mountain; to bathe in the water it provides.

    On the other hand, you have men like John Holliday. Strutting, arrogant opportunists who rely on people who buy based upon emotional impulse and hopeful desperation. And look: he’s even willing to pay the black market prices because he can sell them for more money after they have been bottled ! What a guy.

    If he cared half as much for his own dogs (and family members) as the folks who buy his cordyceps care about their own, then I don’t know if he could (in good conscience) proceed to schlep his modern-day rattlesnake oil.

    • Dr. Dressler on November 2, 2009 at 6:06 pm

      Dear Reader,
      In good conscience I should let you know that the Cordyceps used in John Holliday’s stuff is domestically produced. He has spent a good amount of effort creating cultivation techniques and thankfully does not need to use the black market to supply the world with product.
      Just thought you would like to know….Thanks for the info about the situation in China.

  28. Andrea on August 31, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    My 12-yr old Am Staff Terrier has Grade 3 Mast Cell Cancer. If we are using K9 Immunity should we also include shitake mushrooms in her diet? How much is too much when it comes to mushroom supplements?

    Also, if we are including shitake mushrooms in her diet, what is the best way to deliver them for max effectiveness? Raw or cooked? If cooked, any recommendations?

  29. Arlene on March 25, 2009 at 2:51 am

    My 12 year old aussie was just diagnosed with a +10 cm. hepatacellular carcinoma of her liver, with multiple other lesions. Are medicinal mushrooms recommended for liver disease also?

  30. Brenda on March 3, 2009 at 10:22 am

    I’m confused. I gave my dogs some mushrooms I had cooked with breakfast and then wondered if that was safe. I “googled” mushrooms for dogs, and they all said it was poisonous and should NOT be given. I had forgotten I had given one of my daschunds some mushrooms earlier in the week, and she threw up and was lethargic for a couple of days. So ….? Now what?

  31. Rachel on February 26, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    My 12 year old mix (mostly dalmation, heeler,& retriever)was diagnosed with Visceral Hemangiosarcoma yesterday after an apparent rupture. The tumor is located in (or on) his spleen, there appear to be more smaller ones as well. The specialist recommended euthanasia. I refused and he has since regained color in his gums and has perked up a great deal, maybe about 80% of his usual energy level. Everything I have heard and read is pretty bleak. I am wondering which of these mushrooms have the most potential to help with this specific type of tumor. I am also looking at your book and wondering if, with this diagnosis, you believe there is information in those pages that can help him. I just can’t believe what I was told, I feel he has so much life left in him.
    Thank you for your time.

  32. Diana on January 29, 2009 at 11:01 am

    My 10 year old Aussie was diagnosed with lymphoma one month ago and given a bleak prognosis. Like Teresa’s dog, above (posted 1/24), she had NO other symptoms, just a small lump in her groin that I found doing a tick check. Everyone thinks this dog is 4 years old – tons of energy, great coat, very natural diet her whole life. I am shocked at the diagnosis. She is getting acupuncture and bio-resonance treatments. I was giving her Chinese herbs (per the vet who studied chinese medicine for four years) – but she will now not eat any food I give her as she suspects the herbs are in it. She will eat if others feed her, and will eat treats. How do I reverse this? It’s been 10 days with no herbs and she still is suspicious. Her only symptom is increased thirst.

    There are lyme ticks in nearly every county in California which is where i live. I am currently being treated for borrella and babesia and my dog has been hiking and backpacking everywhere with me (with hundreds of tick bites).
    I am looking forward to reading your comments and suggestions for treating lymphoma, including what you think of essiac tea as a treatment option. I will also purchase your book just as soon as it is available and share it with my vet. Thank you for your work.

    • Dr. Dressler on January 30, 2009 at 7:26 pm

      that is a really interesting article. We don’t have lyme out here, so I don’t deal with it. I used to when I practiced in NY though. Anyway, it would certainly be wise to get some clarification. Discuss doing a bit more testing with your vet (serology for Lyme and PCR on the tumor tissue for Lyme). If too costly, consider antibiotic trial to see the affect.
      Nobody can change your dog’s desire to not eat herbs. But, you can mix them in low sodium broth, cooked lean meats etc. You can often get dried extracts or dried, ground herb capsules to administer the old fashioned way.
      Good luck

    • Dr. Dressler on January 30, 2009 at 7:33 pm

      Also, I have researched essiac in some detail. I look at things with a Western “logical” approach. I cannot say I have found good support for essiac other than scattered personal anectodes, so I don’t push it as part of my approach.

  33. Debbie on January 28, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    My dog was diagnosed with lymphoma 3 days ago, are the mushrooms an option to aid in his treatment….transfer factor and beta glucan a yes or a no?

    • Dr. Dressler on January 30, 2009 at 6:55 pm

      Debbie, I am sorry, I cannot say yes or no in relation to a given dog. Unfortunately other things have to be accounted for in patient management. B.G/TF are considerations that might help.

  34. teresa on January 24, 2009 at 7:32 am

    My Norwegian Elkhound was diagnosed with cancer yesterday and we are going to an oncologist tuesday. My vet tells me he has the most aggressive cancer there is, and does not offer me much hope. He is 10 but active and has showed absolutely no signs of feeling ill etc.He has a healthy appetite, all other systems are normal as well. I want to give him every chance, but I have never been down this road before. He simply had a sore on his foot that didn’t heal,and so they removed it.

    What should I be asking about. If time is of the essence for him, I want to get to the right steps as quickly as possible.

    • Dr. Dressler on January 30, 2009 at 8:00 pm

      Teresa, I have a list of questions to ask your vet in the coping guide I wrote which is downloadable. Make sure you find out the cancer type, your vet’s expertise, what are the conventional treatment options, does your vet know any options other than those, what are the costs involved, what are the side effects of the treatments, what are the survival statistics, how many respond to the treatment on the average, just to name a few.
      Good luck

  35. Erika on January 20, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Thanks for the post. I’d been using a mushroom blend capsule another company since my dog was diagnosed with a soft-tissue sarcoma in the nerve cluster under shoulder. The biopsy came back on the grade 2-3 border, and she was given two months to live since she was past surgical options. That was last March, and she’s still here; most of the time, she’s even happy. We’ve also been doing a high-fruit-and-veggie diet (for a dog, anyway) with lots of fish oil.

    Is there a post on inflammatory swelling around here somewhere? That, I can’t find.

    • Dr. Dressler on January 30, 2009 at 8:06 pm

      Erika, many items have effects on inflammation here (luteolin is a biggy).
      Discuss with your vet of course!

  36. Kim on December 26, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    Dr. Dressler,
    My dog, Ripken, has just been diagnosed with bone cancer. She is five years old, we rescued her so we aren’t sure what breed she is. But I was wondering if you have any suggestions as to what we can feed her, supplements and food that is best for bone cancer. It seems like everything I’ve read doesn’t apply to bone cancer. She had her front leg amputated also about 2 weeks ago. She seems to have more energy and can actually go on short walks now. Please help! If you have any suggestions.

    Thank You,

  37. Laura Gilmartin on October 15, 2008 at 10:31 am

    Dr. Dressler:
    My golden retriever was diagnosed with lymphoma last June. Since she was almost 13 yrs old, we did not want to put her through chemo, but opted for quality of life. I read about Aloha Medicinals’ K-9 Immunity and Transfer Factors, and even got to talk to Dr. Holliday. I was so impressed with the research he has done that I started our dog on his products. My vet, after reading some of Aloha’s literature, agreed that use of the products along with a regime of Prednisone was worthwhile. I am happy to say that our golden had a wonderful 15 months of quality life. She maintained her weight, appetite and was able to go on long walks up until the last couple weeks. We released her to the “Bridge” on 13 Sep 08, but have wonderful memories of her last year with us. For her to celebrate her 14th birthday with us was remarkable is she was totally healthy, but even more so because she was battling cancer. I recommend Aloha’s products without reservation.

  38. Dr. Dressler on October 11, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    I need to focus on cancer in this blog. Please talk to your vet about the diarrhea problem.
    For some recommendations, you may want to refer to earlier blog posts regarding diet, omega-3 fatty acids, melatonin, EGCG, curcumin, ginger, and the others for the time being. All topics have been researched extensively.
    I will be putting out some new information on-line over the next few months to help people get some more clarity.
    Try to start over with the shitake, but use 1/10 of the amount you are giving now, in food, and gradually increase over 2 weeks. If no luck, try a small purchase of K9 Immunity. If it causes diarrhea, you may want to pass on the mushrooms and go for Bio Bran which has some similar effects as the beta glucan containing fungi (via Active Hexose Correlated Compound, or AHCC).

    Dr D

  39. Joanne on October 8, 2008 at 5:49 am

    I have been giving the organic shitake mushrooms to Benny who has MCT on his right side and he has been suffering from diarrhea after eating them. I only put 2 in his food three times a week and cut them up finely. I don’t know if this is the problem with his digestive upset and I was advised to offer him slippery elm which seems to have lots of benefits in the digestive tract.
    Could you inform me of your opinion on adding slippery elm as a daily supplement for Ben.
    Our vet has no understanding of the necessity for supplements and therefore I have only found my information through websites like this one.
    Ben gets 1 salmon capsule per day (1000 mg.), 1 modified citrus pectin pill, flaxseed oil and now slippery elm. I have read about K9-Immunity and Transfer Factor as well as Tissue Tone which was recommended by an herbalist in Portland Oregon (I live in Ontario, CANADA).
    At this point I am so confused as to what supplements to give and in what combination so as not to cause Ben further upset.
    Any information you can offer would be greatly appreciated.


  40. Dr. Dressler on October 5, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    Please cite your source…I would like to investigate this comment….it is based on the idea that malignant lymphocytes respond to non-specific immune stimulators like beta glucans found in these mushrooms. I am interested to see if there is literature that you know about that I can review.
    Generally, the proliferation of transformed (cancerous) lymphocytes is not under the control of normal signal regulation like untransformed lymphocytes. I am wondering what the evidence is that they respond to the stimulation of normal immune cascades caused by the beta glucans.

    • Dr. Dressler on December 27, 2008 at 12:26 am

      Kim, I cannot give recommendations for individual dogs. I will assume she has osteosarcoma, and I am sorry to hear this news.
      You should read previous entries on this blog. There are posts on diet, and several online recipes widely available.
      Gather information here and elsewhere so you can be your dog’s best health care advocate on:
      LIfe quality and stress
      omega three fatty acids and Krill oil
      K-9 Immunity and Transfer Factor
      EGCG (Teavigo)
      Luteolin (Lutimax)
      Modified citrus pectin
      Glycine, Argenine, hyroxymethylbutyrate (HMB)

      These are all worth looking into and discussing with your vet…much can be found in these blog posts, but not all..

      This is just a start but enough to get going with. Best of luck

  41. Lilly F on October 5, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    Dr. Dressler,
    While medicinal mushrooms may be good for some cancers, they are not good for lymphoma, correct? With the high rate of lymphoma, it seems there should be more information on what TO use, short of the CHOP method of chemo. I am confused as to what supplements induce apoptosis in lymphoma and which ones actually cause it to progress.I thought transfer factor and beta glucan were definite no no’s for this cancer.

    Lilly F

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